The mathematics of multiblade razors

Economistrazorblades_1The Economist has a short, tongue-in-cheek piece this week about the math behind the evolution of multiblade shaving systems. “For the most cynical shavers,” the piece says, “this evolution is mere marketing. Twin blades seemed plausible. Three were a bit unlikely. Four, ridiculous. And five seems beyond the pale. Few people, though, seem willing to bet that Gillette’s five-bladed Fusion is the end of the road for razor-blade escalation.” Apparently, adding extra blades is quite a technical challenge. The nerds in The Economist’s graphics department whipped up the chart shown here in an attempt to predict the future proliferation of blades. “With only five data-points, it is hard to be sure exactly which mathematical curve is being followed. If it is what is known as a power law, then the 14-bladed razor should arrive in 2100.” After we’re all gone, thankfully.

—Posted by Tim Nudd

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